Chamisa said Tsvangirai’s US advisor was a big problem

Movement for Democratic Change spokesman Nelson Chamisa told United States embassy officials that Morgan Tsvangirai’s US advisor Melinda Farris was a “big problem”.

He said Tsvangirai had been listening to her to the exclusion of many in the MDC leadership, including himself and Tendai Biti, with whom Farris had a strained relationship.

Chamisa believed Farris had encouraged Tsvangirai to remain outside Zimbabwe causing a leadership vacuum that could cost the party dearly.

Chamisa acknowledged Tsvangirai's international diplomatic efforts in Africa and Europe, but was critical of his continued absence from Zimbabwe.

“ZANU-PF was taking advantage of the absence of MDC leadership by engaging in its current campaign of abductions and arrests,” Chamisa told embassy officials.

“One of the hallmarks of Tsvangirai's leadership had been courage--he needed to be here now to demonstrate it, to work with the MDC to develop a negotiating strategy, and to coordinate with civic organizations now engaged in protest.”

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 08HARARE1073, NELSON CHAMISA ON MDC'S NEXT STEPS

If you are new to these pages, please read an introduction on the structure of a cable as well as how to discuss them with others. See also the FAQs

Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

08HARARE1073

2008-12-04 15:35

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

VZCZCXRO8566

OO RUEHDU RUEHMR RUEHRN

DE RUEHSB #1073/01 3391535

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

O 041535Z DEC 08

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3779

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE

RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 2474

RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 2599

RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 1092

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 1868

RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 2223

RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 2648

RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 5076

RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC

RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

RHMFISS/EUCOM POLAD VAIHINGEN GE

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC

RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 1740

RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 001073

 

SIPDIS

 

AF/S FOR B.WALCH

DRL FOR N. WILETT

ADDIS ABABA FOR USAU

ADDIS ABABA FOR ACSS

STATE PASS TO USAID FOR E. LOKEN AND L. DOBBINS

STATE PASS TO NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR B. PITTMAN

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/04/2018

TAGS: PGOV PREL ASEC PHUM ZI

SUBJECT: NELSON CHAMISA ON MDC'S NEXT STEPS

 

Classified By: CDA Katherine Dhananai for reason 1.4 (d)

 

-------

SUMMARY

-------

 

1. (C) MDC spokesperson Nelson Chamisa met with Emboffs and

Washington TDYers on December 4 to discuss MDC positions and

next steps. According to Chamisa, MDC-T president Morgan

Tsvangirai's continued absence from Zimbabwe is creating a

leadership vacuum that limits the MDC's effectiveness in

negotiations with ZANU-PF and in coordinating efforts with

civil society. Relatedly, Tsvangirai's reliance on U.S.

advisor Melinda Farris has created a "big problem" for those

in the party who seek to advise him. Sanctions continue to

be an effective weapon against Mugabe and the regime, and

U.S. public pressure is welcome. As to ongoing negotiations,

the MDC will not agree to submit Amendment 19 to Parliament

until outstanding issues are resolved. END SUMMARY.

 

-------------------

A Leadership Vacuum

-------------------

 

2. (C) Chamisa had just finished speaking with Tsvangirai

before beginning our meeting. Tsvangirai indicated he would

not soon return to Zimbabwe. According to Chamisa,

Tsvangirai did not specifically discuss the reason; Chamisa

believed Tsvangirai was concerned about threats to his

security and the possibility the GOZ would restrict his

foreign travel once he was back in the country.

 

3. (C) Chamisa acknowledged Tsvangirai's international

diplomatic efforts in Africa and Europe, but was critical of

his continued absence from Zimbabwe. (Chamisa noted that

other MDC leaders, including Tendai Biti, Lovemore Moyo, and

Elias Midzuri had also been traveling.) ZANU-PF was taking

advantage of the absence of MDC leadership by engaging in its

current campaign of abductions and arrests. One of the

hallmarks of Tsvangirai's leadership had been courage--he

needed to be here now to demonstrate it, to work with the MDC

to develop a negotiating strategy, and to coordinate with

civic organizations now engaged in protest. As to

Tsvangirai's security, Chamisa said many MDC leaders had

received threats, but it was necessary to ignore them and

lead.

 

4. (C) After the meeting, Chamisa told polecon chief that

MDC adviser Melinda Farris was a "big problem." He thought

Tsvangirai had been listening to her to the exclusion of many

in the MDC leadership, including himself and Tendai Biti,

with whom Farris had a strained relationship. Chamisa

believed Farris had encouraged Tsvangirai to remain outside

of Zimbabwe.

 

---------------------------

Sanctions an Essential Tool

---------------------------

 

5. (C) We asked Chamisa about Tsvangirai's statement at the

European Development Commission on November 17 that instead

of sanctions Zimbabwe needed more emergency assistance.

(NOTE: The government press subsequently portrayed this as a

new sensibility on the part of the MDC. END NOTE.) Chamisa

speculated that Tsvangirai was trying to demonstrate good

will to both European leaders and ZANU-PF in the context of

continuing negotiations. Nevertheless, Chamisa thought

Tsvangirai's comment was misplaced. Sanctions, according to

Chamisa, had been effective. By way of example, he said

ZANU-PF negotiator Patrick Chinamasa had recently told him

that but for ZANU-PF's desire to have sanctions lifted, it

 

HARARE 00001073 002 OF 002

 

 

would not have engaged in negotiations with the MDC and would

have "finished it off." Chamisa supported a continuation of

U.S. sanctions policy.

 

6. (C) Chamisa urged the U.S. to continue to speak out about

the situation in Zimbabwe. The MDC had few friends in the

region, and it was important for the U.S. and others to

demonstrate support for democratic change in Zimbabwe.

 

------------------------

Amendment 19 Only a Step

------------------------

 

7. (C) Chamisa told us that Amendment 19 was only a step in

the negotiating process. The MDC would not finalize an

agreement and submit Amendment 19 to the Parliamentary

process until outstanding issues had been resolved. The most

important of these was an equitable distribution of all

ministries--not just agreement on Home Affairs. Other issues

included a division of governorships, naming of ambassadors

and permanent secretaries (while Amendment 19 addressed the

appointment process, there needed to be political agreement

on percentage distributions among the parties), and

discrepancies between the document agreed to on September 11

and the document signed on September 15.

 

8. (C) Chamisa said negotiators had agreed at the time of

agreement on the draft of Amendment 19 to meet within two

weeks to discuss the outstanding issues. Tendai Biti was

expected back in Zimbabwe this weekend, and negotiations

would probably resume soon thereafter.

 

9. (C) Chamisa said that ideally there would be new,

internationally supervised elections. As a practical matter,

this was unlikely to occur. SADC was not supportive, and

ZANU-PF would resist. Therefore the focus should be on an

agreement that would allow the MDC to share power in a

transition government, and on the subsequent drafting of a

new constitution under which the MDC would win an election

and govern on its own.

 

-------

COMMENT

-------

 

10. (C) At a critical stage in the negotiating process, with

security forces cracking down on attempted protests, and with

the abduction of Jestina Mukoko, the head of the Zimbabwe

Peace Project, Tsvangirai's absence from Zimbabwe is

noteworthy. He is failing to seize an opportunity to provide

leadership both to his party and to the Zimbabwean people,

and ZANU-PF is taking advantage. END COMMENT.

 

DHANANI

Submit to FacebookSubmit to Google PlusSubmit to TwitterSubmit to LinkedIn

Add comment


Security code
Refresh